5th Night of Chanukah: The Embarrassment - Retrospective tape (1984, Fresh Sounds)
What’s in a name?The moniker of this Wichita, Kansas based entity actually should have
been turned on it’s head and used to refer to the morass of their mainstream, 1980s
contemporaries (dare I mention Night Ranger of Survivor for starters)? Lauded by critics at the time (but generally forgotten about at this stage in the game) the key ingredients of The Embarrassment's nervy, mid-fi concoction consisted of Bill Goffrier's roughewn splay of clangy chords clad to John
Nichols offbeat, albeit slyly melodic approach. Think early Violent Femmes thrown into a blender with Great Plains or Volcano Suns, and you'll have a loose idea as to what the Embarrassment had in store. There was truly a moxie to their endearing madness, and for awhile (particularly the '90s) they were the stuff of cult-classic legend.
The cassette-only Retrospective is as it's name implies. One side studio material, the other live. At the time this scarce reel hit the market, The Embarrassment had parted ways with an album, and ep and a single to their credit. While Retro... isn't a thorough distillation of those releases it contains the band's signature piece "Sex Drive" along with eight more studio cuts, including a couple of tracks that never made it to their 1995 two disk anthology, Heyday 1979-83. I suppose the real draw here for established fans is the live side of this tape, featuring nine tracks that I believe are exclusive to this release. Among several spirited originals are covers of The Seeds "Pushin to Hard," and even Michael Jackson's "Don't Stop (Til You Get Enough," the latter of which is pulled off quite well considering it was fed though the Embarrassments meager deliver system. If this tape persuades you in the least, I'd heartily recommend the aforementioned Heyday compilation, a bountiful 42 song collection containing the brunt of the Embarrassment oeuvre. For now, enjoy this tape.
studio - side a. 01. Sex Drive 02. Berliners Night Out 03. Two Week Vacation 04. Can't Forget 05. Special Eyes 06. Two Cars 07. Sexy Singer Girl 08. Age Five 09. She's One
live, side b. 10. Pushin' Too Hard 11. Woods of Love 12. Time Has Come Today 13. Casual Man 14. I Only Want a Date 15. Podman 16. Lifespan 17. Celebrity Art Party 18. Don't Stop (Til You Get Enough